Appearing on the Sunday talk shows yesterday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), shared talking points as they continued to fight against repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the military ban on openly gay service members.
Graham, appearing on “Fox News Sunday” with fellow Senate Armed Services Committee member, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), told host Chris Wallace, “I think in a lame-duck setting, ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ is not going anywhere.”
“This is a political promise made by Senator Obama when he was running for president,” the South Carolina Republican said. “There is no groundswell of opposition to ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ coming from our military. This is all politics.”
Graham has had a long-standing position that Congress should wait until the release of the Defense Department study on the effects of repealing the policy military. That study is due to be made public Tuesday, followed by Senate Armed Services Committee hearings scheduled Thursday and Friday.
Reading from the same script, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the ranking Republican on the Armed Services Committee, also criticized the effort to lift the ban and accused President Obama of trying to fix a problem that does not exist.
“We don’t have a problem.” McCain said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“The fact is, this was a political promise made by an inexperienced president or candidate for presidency of the United States,” McCain said.
“The military is at its highest point in recruitment and retention and professionalism and capability, so to somehow allege that this policy has been damaging the military is simply false.”
On the Fox broadcast, McCaskill remarked that the ban on gays in the military should be lifted to continue the country’s long-standing record of troops serving with a “sense of integrity.”
Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), who also sits on the committee with Graham and McCaskill, told reporters earlier this month that when the lame-duck session started, he felt confident that Democrats would have enough support from some Republicans in order to pass the Defense Authorization legislation, to which the repeal is attached.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has vowed to call for a full Senate vote on the legislation before the congressional session ends at Christmas break. He will need help from at least two Republicans to reach a filibuster-proof 60 votes to repeal it.
Capitol Hill observers believe that the Democrats likely would experience stiff resistance passing the repeal legislation after the new Congress begins in January because midterm elections cut the Democratic majority in the Senate to just a few seats and also handed control of the House back to Republicans.
U. S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, and Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, both support lifting the ban. However, General. James F. Amos, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, said that in his opinion, lifting the ban would be disruptive to Marine combat units while the U.S. remains at war.